Using Video Reflection to Expand Support During Teacher Clinical Experiences
Clinical experience is critical to the success of teacher candidates. It allows them to receive real classroom experience while they foster relationships with students and build their own instructional skills.
But, even with the skills they learn leading up to the clinical experience, teacher candidates can’t just enter the field and be expected to succeed. There’s a whole host of skills that cannot be taught in a college classroom or via a textbook. And, teacher candidates—just like classroom teachers themselves—need ongoing coaching and feedback to continuously improve their practice.
At the School of Education at Monmouth University, we implemented video coaching to help amplify and enhance the much-needed support our candidates receive during their yearlong clinical internship. This has yielded numerous benefits for both our candidates and teachers alike.
Video observation accelerates instructional practices improvement
As part of our video coaching and observation process, student candidates record video of their classroom teaching and share it with their teachers using the Edthena video observation platform. In the videos, teacher candidates traditionally focus on high leverage teaching practices (HLTPs), such as leading a whole-class discussion, establishing norms and routines for the classroom, and making content explicit through explanation, modeling, representations, and examples.
The use of video gives teachers a look into the student candidates’ classrooms and an opportunity to see their instruction—in real classrooms and with real students—in action. It also alleviates the need to go from school to school in the surrounding area to conduct these observations in person.
After viewing video of teacher candidates in their authentic teaching environments, teachers are then able to provide targeted feedback and suggestions related to HLTPs that candidates can incorporate into their instruction.
Recording videos of teaching encourages candidate self-reflection
In addition to receiving coaching, student candidates are able to reflect on their own videos using the platform. According to researcher Jim Knight, this process of self-reflection using videotaped instruction can help to expedite professional development for clinical students.
It’s always striking to me how much one can pick up when they watch themselves on tape and this opportunity to reflect enables student candidates to really see how they come across in the classroom. For example, student candidates might think they have an assertive presence in the classroom. But, upon reflecting on their video, they may find they are not standing with authority or projecting their voice enough.
The video reflection process helps teacher candidates be more conscious of how they actually teach. This awareness allows them to tweak their instruction as needed to better serve and engage their students.
Teacher candidate video reflection encourages professional collaboration
Watching video with others – whether it is with teachers or fellow candidates – allows student candidates to receive enriched, personalized feedback from those who have different levels of experience and expertise.
In the classroom, student candidates or novice educators might automatically think of one way to respond to the instructional need of a student. However, after watching video of the student candidate in action, those giving feedback might offer multiple solutions that have worked in similar situations. This gives student candidates more concrete strategies they can put in their own teaching toolkit.
Video also provides candidates with the opportunity to ask targeted questions about their instruction as others watch their teaching and it supports ongoing, collaborative dialog – both of which are imperative to high-quality professional development.
Providing a year-long clinical experience, as well as video coaching to support this time in the classroom, has been a central component of our teacher preparation program and critical in preparing our teacher candidates for success in the profession. It is through this work, in part, that our candidates are well equipped to serve K-12 students here in New Jersey and beyond.
AACTE Board member John Henning, Ph.D., dean of the School of Education at Monmouth University, is an experienced educational practitioner, researcher, and leader. His primary research interests include practice-based teacher education, teacher development, instructional decision-making, and classroom discourse.